In 2013, myself and 5 other cadets from Catherine Booth College, along with three staff, went to Manus Island, PNG, as part of our training, to work as part of The Salvation Army’s Humanitarian team working in the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre. Four years on, I’ve decided to share my diary from that experience. Names have been changed, and I acknowledge that the centre has changed a lot since then, but it is my hope that this will share a bit of light into how our government is treating Asylum Seekers.
7 February 2013. Flew from Cairns to Port Moresby, then on to Manus Island. Travelled to the compound.
Coming in, I was quite amazed. The old army base is completely overgrown and rusted, however the design of buildings hasn’t changed much. The main buildings are still half-cylinders, and our accommodation is shipping containers.
We had induction today, basically getting to know the campsite and the work. We go on roster from tomorrow, and I have an RDO.
I need to find ways to keep myself busy. I found that when I kept to myself, and in my own thoughts, I would focus on how much I was missing Liesl and Annabelle. It didn’t help that I couldn’t get into my room because I don’t have a key, and my roommates have got into the habit of locking the door. That compounded things because I didn’t have a link home. As soon as I could get in and send a message home, I was ok.
Learning to live with a couple of other guys, on different shifts, will be tough, but I’m sure it will be ok.
Mentally – ok. Missing Liesl and Annabelle. Happy my communication channels aren’t as bad as first thought.